OSB Professional Liability Fund

Governor’s Order Extends Civil Time Limitations Again

Sand in an hour glass
March 19, 2021
by Sharnel Mesirow

On February 25, 2021, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order No. 21-05, which is the sixth extension of Executive Order No. 20-03 and the COVID-19 State of Emergency since her original order declaring an emergency on March 8, 2020. Based on this latest extension, Executive Order 20-03 and the COVID-19 State of Emergency will be extended for an additional 60 days, through May 2, 2021, unless extended or terminated earlier by the governor. How does this impact Oregon statutes of limitation and other time limitations?

A comprehensive measure addressing various issues related to COVID-19, House Bill 4212 was signed into law on June 30, 2020, and became effective immediately on passage. Among numerous other provisions, the bill authorizes the Oregon Supreme Court to suspend or extend time periods that apply to court proceedings, including most civil matters, including tolling the period for the commencement of civil actions. See HB 4212, Sec 6-7. Specifically, Section 7(1) of HB 4212 states: “If the expiration of the time to commence an action or give notice of a claim falls within the time in which any declaration of a state of emergency issued by the Governor related to COVID-19, and any extension of the declaration, is in effect, or within 90 days after the declaration and any extension is no longer in effect, the expiration of the time to commence the action or give notice of the claim is extended to a date 90 days after the declaration and any extension is no longer in effect.” (Emphasis added.)

Section 7(1) applies to the following:

  • Time periods for commencing an action under ORS Chapter 12;
  • The time period for commencing an action for wrongful death under ORS 30.020;
  • The time period for commencing an action or giving notice of claim under ORS 30.275 (tort claim notice); and
  • Any other time limitation for the commencement of a civil cause of action or the giving of notice of a civil claim established by statute.
Section 7(2).

Section 7(1) does not apply to:
  • Time limitations for the commencement of criminal actions;
  • The initiation of an appeal to the magistrate division of the Oregon Tax Court or an appeal from the magistrate division to the regular division;
  • The initiation of an appeal or judicial review proceeding in the Court of Appeals; or
  • The initiation of any type of case or proceeding in the Supreme Court.
Section 7(3).

As of the date of this blog post, the governor’s order has extended the state of emergency through May 2, 2021. If the governor does not issue any further extensions (or terminate the state of emergency at an earlier date), the time limitations on these civil matters will be extended until 90 days after the extension is no longer in effect.

NOTE: HB 4212 Sections 6 and 7 will be automatically repealed on December 31, 2021.  

Disclaimer: The operative language of HB 4212 has not yet been interpreted by state or federal appellate courts. Each practitioner should review the law to determine whether and how it might apply in any particular circumstance. This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not establish, report, or create the standard of care for attorneys in Oregon, nor does it represent a complete analysis of the topics. Readers should conduct their own appropriate legal research. The information presented does not represent legal advice.